Ready to get confused?
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has introduced legislation aimed at addressing what he believes is a wrong. California school districts don’t allow transgender students to use restrooms or play on sports teams of the sex they relate to.
Before you start sighing “only in San Francisco,” Ammiano was beaten to the punch by the Massachusetts Department of Education that recently issued a decree requiring school districts in the Bay State to do what Assembly Bill 1266 would require in California.
High school is a trying time for many. Hormones often drive teens of both genders, emotionally and otherwise.
One can only imagine what it is like for a teen that is one sex but believes they are of the opposite sex -- or perhaps unisex which is surely on the horizon -- to go through high school these days.
You can’t simply tell anyone anymore to “man up” -- or whatever gender-neutral term you want to use -- and stick through something that is uncomfortable. That is how transgender youths view having to use teacher restrooms at schools or being on the same team with others of the sex that they were physically born into. That is especially so if you are part of a specially “protected” class which transgenders are in California by decree of the California Legislature.
But what about those who identify as male or female who happen to emotionally be of the corresponding sex of their body? Is it okay for a girl who is a girl and believes she is a girl to share a restroom or a locker room with a teen boy who believes he is a girl? And is it alright for a boy who sees himself as a girl to compete for a spot on the girls’ basketball team? Is that fair to girls who are girls?
The bigger issue here, though, is where do you draw the line?
The courts have already established rights aren’t absolute. Asserting absolute right means you have to infringe on someone else’s rights. It is the rationale behind why yelling fire in a crowded theatre when there is no fire doesn’t count as free speech.
Ammanio’s bill very nicely muddies Title IX. The concept of having equal opportunity for both sexes to play sports in school and college, for example, would be diluted by allowing an athlete of one sex that believes they are of the other sex to try out and possibly secure a position on a basketball team that is composed of players who are physically and emotionally of the same sex.
There is nothing now that bars a girl, whether she is a girl-girl or boy that believes he is a girl, from going out for a football team in high school. That’s because under Title IX if there is only one team offered it has to be open to both sexes. Of course, the opposite is not necessarily true. There have been cases in California where a boy-boy who believes himself to be a boy has tried to play on the volleyball team at schools when it is only offered to girls. The response has typically been either there are more opportunities for boys to play in sports overall with their own gender or schools have simply blocked them from playing volleyball.
Of course, we could solve the entire problem and simply make all teams unisex with the most skilled and talented regardless of sex or gender orientation to fill available team slots. Or we could do it the old-fashioned way based on modern-day logic and assign quotas. A football team, for example, with 46 playing positions may have 18 straight boys, 18 straight girls, two gay boys, two lesbian girls, a girl who identifies as a boy, a boy who identifies as a girl, a boy with feminine qualities who is straight, a girl with masculine qualities but who is straight, a teen who is unisex, and a teen who identifies as being asexual. Then to make the absolute equality crowd happy after dividing the team by sexual orientation or gender orientation you can subdivide those assigned positions by ethnicity. And for good measure you could further subdivide assignment of those team positions by handicaps.
That way winning a game won’t be what matters the most anymore. Just trying to figure out how to put together a team would be a major victory.
Solving the other “wrong” Ammiano wants to address is much easier. Simply convert all restrooms in schools and public places into unisex restrooms.
One wonders how that would play in San Francisco, let alone Peoria.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.